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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Reports say 1 in 10 pregnant women in India has at least one drink of any alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days. This is where the risk of women developing fetal alcohol syndrome starts.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Women who indulge in alcohol during their pregnancy have threatening effects on their infants. This could give rise to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD has a hoard of disorders; they could range from mild or severe causing mental and physical birth defects.

Under the spectrum, Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a severe condition. The effects would have lasting repercussions on the infant’s hearing, memory, visual, attention span, and communication. These repercussions could be lasting or permanent. The defects would vary from person to person. Check out the below symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms in adults

The fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms would include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to focus
  • Reduced motor coordination
  • Issues with speech, movement, and thinking
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning disabilities and Poor judgment
  • Distorted limbs or fingers
  • Mood swings and difficulties with seeing or hearing
  • Having a small head and eyes that are wide set
  • Thin upper lip or abnormal features
  • Intellectual disability and cardiovascular problems
  • Issues with kidney defects and abnormalities

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Fetal alcohol syndrome cause and effect

The child during later years of development could develop behavioral issues such as conduct disorder, depression, attention deficit disorders and psychotic symptoms.

  1. Maladjustment issues in school which includes them being disobedient and often getting expelled.
  2. Having disregard for the law which includes them having issues controlling their anger and frustration. They could also develop violent behavior and get into criminal activities. They could be manipulative in nature to get away from the law.
  3. These children could also get involved in drug and alcohol abuse.
  4. They would have difficulty with keeping a job or living on their own.

During pregnancy, women who consume alcohol have significant and lasting effects on their fetus and later their infants; causing them to develop alcohol dependence or addiction.

Post birth the infant would be dependent on alcohol causing its central nervous system to be overstimulated which then would cause withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms could develop within few hours after their birth and may last for 18 months. These effects can result in physical abnormalities like the head, face, heart and intellectual disability.

Treatment for Fetal alcohol syndrome

FAS is incurable but there are treatments to curb the symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis is made better is the prognosis. Taking the child for regular checkups can help to monitor the symptoms. Special education specialists, a therapist can help with younger children.

  • Precautions to be taken at home:
    Having a stable, supportive and loving home environment can help the child from further developing behavioral and conduct issues such as violence and substance abuse. Encouraging them with positive reinforcement could help them develop better behavior.
  • Medications:
    There are no medications that could specifically treat FAS, although a lot of medications can target and address the symptoms.
  • Counseling:
    Behavior modification therapies can help in training them with social and communicative skills. Executive function training can help in reasoning, self-control and with understanding cause and effect. Academic guidance is also necessary for FAS children. Support groups and teachers can also help.
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How to prevent Fetal alcohol syndrome?

Avoid consuming any form of alcohol, be it even in small amounts during pregnancy. If you have a drinking problem and still want to get pregnant please seek help from a therapist or your child may develop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome during pregnancy or post birth.  For more information about the syndrome and its treatment, contact us @+91 96111 94949 for a healthy recovery.

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